Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, more Americans are working from home than ever before. Nevertheless, remote work is not a new concept, and employers must still adhere to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and all state and federal laws.
If your employer fails to pay you for the hours you worked, Donati Law, PLLC can help you make a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division and recover the compensation you are entitled to.
Below are some of the most common problems we have seen so far when it comes to working from home.
When you work at home, you should still have a schedule. Your employer may provide for some flexibility, but they should not ask you to perform more work without additional compensation. If you find yourself working more hours while you are at home, make sure you log the extra work and report it to your employer.
If your employer refuses to pay overtime, they may face legal consequences. Additionally, your employer should never discourage you from reporting your hours properly.
What Hours Count As Work?
Your employer has an obligation under the FLSA to track the number of compensable hours you perform and pay you for all hours worked. According to a memo from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL):
“An employer is required to pay its employees for all hours worked, including work not requested but suffered or permitted, including work performed at home.”
If your employer has reason to believe you are working, they are responsible for paying you. This can apply to emails you send after you clock out and any activity you do outside of your regular work hours. If you work more than 40 hours a week, you are entitled to overtime.
Even when you work from home, you are entitled to rest and meal breaks. The rules for breaks should be the same whether you’re working in the office or working from home. Tennessee law requires employers to provide workers with a 30-minute unpaid meal or rest period if they are scheduled for 6 consecutive hours.
If you do not receive your meal break, you may be entitled to additional compensation.
What About Longer Breaks?
Some employers allow their employees to take longer breaks and extend their workday over a longer period of time. The DOL allows this as long as the employee is paid for all the time they work. If you need to take a longer break to run an errand, care for your children, or attend to other personal matters, make sure you don’t work during your break.
Your employer should keep track of your “on the clock” and “off the clock” hours and pay you accordingly.
Working from home can be difficult when you do not have the supplies you need. If you have to purchase supplies or your employer asks you to incur any costs, keep a record of what you buy. Many companies will reimburse you for these expenses.
If the expenses associated with performing your job ever make your salary lower than minimum wage, your employer may have to compensate you for the difference.
Don’t Let Your Employer Take Advantage of You
During this time of uncertainty, many people feel lucky just to have a job. Similarly, some people feel that the perks of working from home make an employer’s illegal conduct “worth it.”
No matter your situation, though, you still have rights as an employee – both in Tennessee and the United States. If you feel exploited by your employer, you should speak to an employment lawyer about your legal options.
Call us at (901) 209-5500 or contact us online to learn more about your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve.